As expected, the Mbaise nation in Imo State has produced another annual spectacle in the name of the New Yam Festival.
What was supposed to be a cultural festival at least or maybe a carnival if the entire clan was united keeps being divided into pieces of what used to be a whole.
Ji Mbaise used to be a sacred celebration as Iri Ji (New Yam Festival) is known to be across Igbo land, but since the political veil was torn in Imo and politicians, especially the governors and gubernatorial aspirants have turned it into a cold war wrestling ring.
The history of Imo State has not done the celebration well with packets of violence recorded in the time of Rochas Okorocha when his supporters clashed with those standing for Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.
The same Rochas Okorocha, seeing the political gold mine the Mbaise nation could become, ensured his anointed successor Mr. Uche Nwosu is conferred on a chieftaincy title that will end up seeing some traditional rulers suspended when that succession plan failed on 2019.
The heat of that event has lingered till date as every other political leader in the state has followed that divide and rule template set by now Orlu Zone Senator, Chief Okorocha.
While the game was ahead of the 2019 Gubernatorial election, the Mbaise nation later unveiled that they are owners of the chess board when a total of 149,971 votes were recorded in the three local governments of the clan.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha raked 127,241 of that 149,971 votes, more than 50 percent of the 273,404 that saw him emerge Governor before being ousted by the Supreme Court.
With politicians now aware that there could even be more votes from the three local governments, they now do everything possible to be politically relevant in the area.
Pray For Traditional Rulers
Mbaise traditional rulers need prayers as they have been the spear piercing the heart of their sacred heritage.
Should one say it is all about money and power, it would be an unfair accusation, but the words have still been said as traditional rulers often don’t have a choice but to dance to the tune of the state governor or their agents if they don’t want to see their Staff of office missing the next morning.
Most times they are divided between political parties or should I say between the braves and betrayals or PDP and APC.
Whichever way, someone must have the leftovers and make it look like the main meal.
Whoever takes his cut first, politics or tradition still leaves the rest for politicians who are not in power.
The Buyers have been ready.
In 2018 Eze Leo Nwokocha, then Chairman of the Mbaise Council of Traditional rulers worked against the directives of Ezurezu Mbaise who through the then President-General Chief Cyril Anyanwu, canceled the general Iri Ji Mbaise.
Eze Leo Nwokocha succeeded and even when the event was boycotted by prominent Mabise sons and daughters, then Governor Rochas Okorocha ensured it had an attending crowd that will be the envy of the history of the event.
Uche Nwosu got the title and even when many would replace ‘got’ with ‘bought’, words of similar sounds but different meanings and intentions, the truth will depend on your political alignment then and now. It will keep changing.
Even when Ezurezu Mbaise condemned and disowned the actions of the traditional rulers, one can never deny the fact that the event happened and we will never forget it.
We will also not forget the events that took place when Okorocha’s succession plan failed. How traditional who found favour in the sight of ousted Emeka Ihedioha bullied the others with suspensions and banishments.
It’s even a sad story like in Ukraine where they say Russia is fighting with the West via Ukraine, while all the bombs go off in not USA, UK, but in Ukraine.
This is me saying Mbaise is only hurting Mbaise.
The Sitters Have Arrived
Maybe I don’t know much about Igbo traditional institution; maybe because I read history books authored by men who are Europeans at heart.
We understand the absoluteness of the power of a Governor, but having one seated while a traditional ruler stands to confer the Chieftaincy title on him makes it look like a joke.
We don’t have to make our tradition a joke just because of money and power.
I see the traditional rulers who let that happen the same way I see all the bishops of “Agbedo” diocese who attended Bola Tinubu’s unveiling of his vice presidential candidate.
It is a real joke and slap on both sides of the faces of the entire Mbaise Nation.
Governor Hope Uzodinma will not be the first politician sitting to take a title, it has been happening in Imo State, so it won’t be a big deal, no one should even border I said this; I’m even sorry for bringing it up.
But you all know what is right or wrong depending on where your daily bread comes from.
The Runner Keeps Running
Like in mathematics where we have to find variables like x and y with some constants, it has been the case of Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, the constant who had found Rochas Okorocha in the past and is now solving his way to finding the values of Governor Hope Uzodinma.
Sadly he has been fighting to run away, always picking what is left after the people in Government House have taken their share.
He wasn’t able to witness much of this event as a governor, and just that once in 2019, he was able to make it a perfect carnival for “Umunne Governor” with other governors like Rt Hon Aminu Tambuwal in attendance.
Ever since Ihedioha has simply found a way to have his celebration boycotting whichever version is organized for the “owner” of Douglass House.
It was the same this year and one will begin to wonder when this will end. Won’t it be good to have just one event with everyone in attendance or must it always be held on two different days for people with two different political ideologies – surely a waste of funds but business for decorators, caterers, and others.
Emeka Ihedioha will always be an Mbaise man and no matter how one sees it, the ‘Mbaise Agenda’ will always be alive, and politicians like him understand what it means to be the foremost custodian of that mandate.
The last time I delved into a similar subject, I had my Twitter handle “hardynwa” suspended for almost a year for reasons that were never explained by the company. Something unknown person even called me to brag about achieving.
I received threats via calls and emails from people within and outside the country all because a group of people who feel their wrong is good do exist.
In this case, if the truth is what it is meant to be, I expect more, but then as they say that once upon a time begins a story, there could be much more for us all if we work together to reduce waste and damages caused by politicians who lack sustainability mentality.
My name is Chinedu Hardy Nwadike and I write from Owerri, Imo State. firstname.lastname@example.org.